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1 Timothy 5

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Paul continues to give Timothy, his representative to the church in Ephesus, specific instructions for “how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (3:15). While there is organization to the church, it is not merely an organization. The church is a body of baptized believers who covenant together to love, learn from, and labor for Jesus Christ. 

There will be times when believers must be rebuked, so in God’s household they must be treated as family members, with love, honor, and respect (vv. 1-2). Widows without family support should receive care from the church if she is of godly character and sufficient age (vv. 3-16). Note that believers who have widows must care for their needy family members (v. 16); failing to do so shows no love for the Lord and His saints (v. 8). Pastors should work hard, fear sin, and be impartial in their relationships (vv. 17-25).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Churches must care for members who are widows. Because of various government programs it is easy to think widows’ needs are supplied. While such programs are a help, churches must be sure that their widows’ needs are met. There are more than just financial needs!
  2. The “elders who rule well…especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” refers to the same office, not two different offices (some point to this passage as supporting two offices, ruling and teaching elders). All elders must carry out their responsibilities well and all elders must be able to teach (3:2). This passage (vv. 17-18) teaches that pastors should be financially supported (1 Cor 9:7-15; Gal 6:6). Pray for your pastor that he will “rule well” and “labor in the word and doctrine”!

Repentance

This is the 10th message in the series, “Gospel Truths,” taught by Pastor Dan Greenfield at Orwell Bible Church’s 10:30 a.m. Sunday service on May 15 2022.

You can download  an outline of this message to follow along, here.

The Importance and Blessings of Marriage

You can download an outline of this message to follow along, here.

1 Timothy 4

The Holy Spirit clearly says that seriousness of the wrong teaching going on in the Ephesian church would sadly continue to grow and multiply (v. 1). There will be those who pervert the faith because they have denied the faith (vv. 1-5). Note that the ultimate source of false teaching is from demons (v. 1, “doctrines of demons” means “doctrines from demons”). A single word that means “depart from the faith” (v. 1) is apostasy—abandoning biblical truth.

In view of present and coming apostasy, Timothy and the Ephesian pastors must exhibit and execute a faithful ministry (vv. 6-16). Faithful ministry protects and preserves both the pastor and the flock. Teaching these truths nourishes the church (v. 6), requires rejecting error (v. 7), and involves commanding and teaching (v. 11).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Apostasy is one of Satan’s tools to destroy a church. Pretending it doesn’t exist is not only foolish and deadly but willfully ignores the Holy Spirit’s clear warning (v. 1). Christians can spot apostasy (vv. 2-3) by knowing God’s truth (vv. 4-5).
  2. Devotion to sound doctrine protects one from heeding demonically taught doctrines. Such devotion involves teaching and carefully following it (vv. 6, 11, 13, 14), rejecting what is false (v. 7), living it out (v. 8), following godly examples (v. 12), meditating on them (v. 15), and closely watching how you live (v. 16).

1 Timothy 3

Remember from chapter one there were some pastors of the Ephesian church that were teaching wrong things. That negatively affected public worship, so Paul gave instructions regarding that in chapter two. Here in chapter three Paul then directs Timothy’s attention to the necessary requirements for church leadership (pastors and deacons), the very ones involved in wrong teaching. In the NT pastors are also called elders and overseers/bishops (see how these three titles are used interchangeably for the same man in Acts 20:17, 29; 1 Pet 5:1-2).

Overseers must be godly men who can teach and care for the church (vv. 1-7). Note that the requirements to be a pastor nearly all deal with Christ-likeness in character and home relations. The only requirement that is not character-related is being able to teach (v. 2). While every Christian should be able to teach truth to others (Heb 5:12), teaching here (v. 2) is a spiritual gift from God enabling a man to publicly explain the Word so others can understand it.

Deacons must be godly men and good managers (vv. 8-13). Though deacons’ primary ministry deals with the church’s physical needs (cf. Acts 6:1-6), that still requires Christ-like character in every aspect of life. It is best to understand verse 11 as referring to the wives of deacons rather than female deacons, as before and after verse 11 deacons’ characteristics are addressed.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Pastors must be men, not women. This is clearly specified in 2:12 and 3:1-2. Just because some women could do the work of a pastor doesn’t mean they should. God gives Christians gifts and abilities to use in the areas he ordains them to be used in.
  2. Every Christian should strive to have the Christ-like characteristics of godliness necessary for pastors and deacons. You don’t need a position to be Christ-like! In fact, if someone doesn’t have Christ-like character he shouldn’t have a position of leadership.
  3. The character and purpose of the church demands proper conduct in the church (3:15). “Pillar and ground of the truth” points to the purpose of the church, to declare and defend Christian truth. Christians must be serious about the house of the living God!

1 Timothy 2

Having addressed in chapter one threats to the very foundation of Christianity (Christian truth), Paul then in chapter two instructs Timothy about the church’s public worship, which evidently were affected by wrong teaching.

Church services must involve public prayer (vv. 1-7) led by godly men at peace with one another (v. 8) and with godly women properly dressed (vv. 9-10). Godliness of life and appearance are essential so that everyone’s attention is on the Lord, not one another. In public worship women are not to have a leadership or teaching role (vv. 11-12). This not merely a cultural practice, it is based in the beginning of humanity (vv. 13-14).

Verse 15 does not mean that women gain eternal life if they bear children! Rather, the point is that Christian women are to fulfill the roles and responsibilities that God has established for them. When Christian women trust Christ and demonstrate that trust by fulfilling their God-given role they will persevere in the faith and experience God’s salvation.

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The church’s public worship must have proper order and seriousness. God is the one the church gathers to worship. The purpose is not to “have a great worship experience,” that makes human beings the object of the service! Scriptural praying, modest apparel, and biblical order do not gratify the flesh, but such are essential for truly worshiping the one true God through Jesus Christ. Such is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (v. 3).
  2. Christian man, live a holy life and love one another. “Holy hands” (v. 8) refers to a holy life. Instead of flying off the handle or being mad at someone, you must love them. Be committed to Christ and settled in the faith (“without doubting”). Praying to God while actively sinning, not loving a brother, or doubting truth is hypocrisy. Christian man, God intends you to lead in your marriage, home, and church, so you must set the example!
  3. Christian woman, you too must live a holy life! Focus your life on doing good for Christ rather than on “looking hot” (vv. 9-10). This moderation is exactly how you should live as a godly woman (“proper”). The world doesn’t care about doing good for Christ, it only cares about looking good. This doesn’t mean you’re more Christian if you look dowdy! The key words are “modest, propriety, moderation.” The standard is “women professing godliness.” Are you known more for your looks or your life?

1 Timothy 1

Not long after his first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28) Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, a long-time co-laborer of Paul’s. Timothy in Ephesus (1:3) not as the church’s pastor but as Paul’s representative there (cf. 1 Cor 4:17; 16:10; Phil 2:19; 1 Thess 3:2). Timothy’s mission was to deal with wrong teaching that some Ephesian pastors were promoting (sadly fulfilling Acts 20:30) and bring the church into proper order.

Paul first instructs Timothy to rebuke those who mishandled God’s truth and instead gave their attention to fruitless speculations and wrong teaching (vv. 3-11). The standard of right teaching is Christ’s truth (v. 11), who transformed Paul’s life and whom Paul thanks for his grace and mercy (vv. 12-17). Paul thus charges Timothy to keep the faith, learning from the tragic examples of those who have left the faith (vv. 18-20).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. In Christ’s church only Christ’s truth must be taught (vv. 3-11). There is a right use for all Scripture; those who teach it must not stray from that but correctly and properly handle God’s truth. Scripture is not like clay to twist and shape for personal purposes, it is truth from God to teach righteousness, reveal sin, and point to the Savior.
  2. The gospel of Jesus Christ saves sinners (vv. 12-16)! Gain encouragement from Paul’s testimony! He hated Jesus, fought against everything Jesus stood for, yet God mercifully showered his abundant grace upon him, turning him from a blasphemer into a believer, from one who hated Christ into one who loved Christ.
  3. The conscience is a God-given aspect of humanity that evaluates one’s life according to its provided authority. Those who reject the Christian faith thus reject a good conscience, resulting in wrecking their souls on the shoals of unbelief. Keep a good conscience by continuing in the faith!

Ephesians 6

Paul concludes his teaching how Christians must live Christ-like lives, both in the home (vv. 1-4) and “workplace” (vv. 5-9). The first century master-slave situation was not exactly like pre-Civil War slavery in the US. In Bible times people would become slaves to pay off debt, earn a living, even love! (Deut 15:12-17) Yes, there were also situations where slavery was the result of being conquered in war or being born into it. Regardless of the reason, Christians who were either masters or slaves needed to be Christ-like in their relationships.

Christians have definite responsibilities regarding the Devil’s evil efforts against them (vv. 10-20). Believers must depend on the Lord’s strength and provisions to stand firm against Satan’s schemes so that the church reflects Christ’s character and obeys his commands.

Paul ends by telling them Tychicus, who probably brought the Ephesians this letter, will let them know about his circumstances, and then closes with a prayer and blessing (vv. 21-24).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Every situation, role, and responsibility of a Christian’s life must reflect Christ’s character and obey his commands. As one grows older roles and responsibilities change but being like Christ never changes. Wherever you’re at in life, live like Christ!
  2. The church is responsible for “Christian order” in church families. The instructions in verses 1-4 were given by Christ’s apostle (cf. 2:20) to a church, not to individual families. Families learn about Christ in and through their church, not separate or cut off from the church. The church—a body of baptized believers who covenant together to learn from and labor for Christ—makes better families, and families make better churches. It should not be an either/or situation, but a both/and!
  3. The Devil is always on the prowl, deviously scheming to destroy Christ’s church. The church together—every member—must remember this continual spiritual battle and always depend on the Lord Jesus Christ for strength, help, and enablement. The Lord Jesus has given everything needed to successfully resist Satan!

Ephesians 5

Continuing the commands of living a Christ-like life in every area of life from 4:17, Christians must prove their love for Christ through pure living (5:1-5). Christians’ lives must not have a hint of the various forms of sin that characterize unbelievers’ lives (v. 3-5). Anyone whose life is characterized by sin will not be in Christ’s coming Kingdom (v. 5).

Christians must live like Christ, not like the Devil (vv. 6-21). They must beware of false teaching (vv. 6-7), live holy lives (vv. 8-10), and have nothing to do with sin (vv. 11-14). Christ-like living is careful, wise, prudent, and obedient (vv. 15-17). Such living is the result of being controlled by the Holy Spirit (v. 18), which is evidenced from the heart in edification, worship, and mutual respect (vv. 19-21).

Christian wives and husbands must live like Christ in their marriages, each fulfilling their various roles and responsibilities, recognizing that marriage pictures the relationship Christ has with his church (vv. 22-33).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Only those who have been born again will enter and be present in the coming Kingdom of God (v. 5; cf. John 3:3). Being born again is proven by one’s character of life (cf. Rom 14:17).
  2. Being filled with the Spirit (v. 18) does not mean one has more of the Spirit, but that one is controlled by the Spirit. This is another way of saying walking in or being led by the Spirit (Gal 5:16, 18). Throughout the Christian’s life he must obey what God the Spirit says in Scripture and depend on him for strength to do so. This is what it means to be filled with, led by, and walk in the Spirit.
  3. Marriage was created by God during the creation week before sin entered the world (Gen 2:18-25). God created definite order in marriage with separate roles and responsibilities for the husband and wife. Such differences do not mean one is better or less important than the other; there are different roles within the Triune God!

Ephesians 4

Truths given in the first three chapters serve as the foundation for applications in the last three chapters. The spiritual unity believers have in a church through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (vv. 4-6) must be guarded and promoted so that harmony and unity is seen and experienced (vv. 1-3). Christ provides for the unity of the church through spiritual gifts he has given (vv. 7-11). As members of a church minister to one another the whole body matures, is protected, grows, and is more united (vv. 12-16).

The church as Christ’s body must live like Christ in every area of human life (4:17-6:9). Believers must live like believers, not unbelievers (vv. 17-24). The “old man” (v. 22) refers to life as an unbeliever. Christians are not to lie (v. 25), be bitter or harbor grudges (vv. 26-27), should not steal but work (v. 28), and never use improper language but instead speak to edify others (vv. 29-32).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. True unity can only be experienced through salvation from the Triune God. Sin is the root cause of every human problem in every human relationship. Efforts to deal with sin’s effects may bring a temporary appearance of improvement, but they are like putting a Band-Aid on skin cancer.
  2. Christians have a deep responsibility to their brothers and sisters in their churches to strengthen and protect the unity God gives. Sadly, many Christians don’t take what God has done seriously when they don’t take their responsibilities seriously. Strengthening fellow-believers in a church is work, the work of the ministry that every Christian has (v. 12).
  3. True salvation is seen in a night-and-day difference of life from that of unbelievers (vv. 17-32). This is because the change began with being born again, receiving new life in the heart (v. 18; cf. Prov 4:23).

Ephesians 3

Now Paul details his role in God’s plan as one through whom God made known the truth of the church (vv. 1-13) and then in response to this prays for the Ephesians (vv. 14-21).

Paul was Christ’s prisoner (v. 1), a steward of God’s grace (v. 2), and one that God gave truth to and through (vv. 3-7). Paul was responsible to proclaim the riches of Christ’s redemption primarily to the Gentiles so that God would be glorified (vv. 8-13).

Paul then prayed that the full blessings of Jesus Christ through the gospel would be known to and experienced by the Ephesians so that they would glorify God (vv. 14-21).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The truth of the church—believers of every nationality spiritually united together in Christ—had been concealed but was now revealed through the apostles (this is what “mystery” means; note vv. 5-6, 9-10). This truth was part of God’s eternal plan (v. 11), not a “plan B.” There isn’t a hint in the Old Testament about the church; this was truth God sovereignly chose to conceal to OT saints.
  2. God’s wisdom is made known by the church to all creation (v. 10). This is the church’s reason for existence, so the church must be occupied with that and not get distracted into doing things it shouldn’t.

Ephesians 2

Having laid foundational truths of God’s salvation in chapter one, Paul now in chapter two explains how God saves sinners.

First, God causes sinners who are spiritually dead to be made alive through Jesus Christ (vv. 1-10). Note how unbelievers are described in verses 1-3: spiritually dead in sin (v. 1), controlled by Satan (v. 2), and devoted to living for oneself, gratifying the sin nature (v. 3). Then, “but God,” (v. 4)! Sinners have no hope in themselves, only in God’s mercy and love while they were sinners (vv. 4-5). God causes them to be born again (vv. 5-6), for his glory (v. 7), and solely by grace through faith (vv. 8-9). Believers are what they are by God’s work and thus live for him (v. 10).

Second, though Jews and Gentiles were guilty before and separated from God and one another, through Christ’s death God forgave and reconciled believing sinners (vv. 11-22). God graciously chose Israel and blessed them with promises and Jesus Christ, but Gentiles were far away from and aliens to these blessings (vv. 11-12). Then, “But now,” (v. 13)! Through Jesus’ death hopeless Gentiles who trust in Christ are brought near (v. 13). The One who brought this peace is Jesus, who through his life, death, and resurrection did away with every cause of separation (vv. 14-15a). Jesus causes every believer, whether Jew or Gentile, to become spiritually united in one body forever (vv. 15b-18).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Sinners are hopeless lost, cannot save themselves, and of themselves will not seek salvation (vv. 1-3). Any and every sinner’s only hope is “but God.”
  2. While works cannot save, one who is saved works (vv. 8-10). Salvation is by the free grace of God, but true salvation is never free of works demonstrating and proving that one has been saved. God saves sinners so they will no longer live to sin, but rather so they will live to glorify him in life.
  3. Work through this chapter noting different words and phrases characterizing God’s salvation in Jesus through the Spirit (such as “rich in mercy,” “great love,” etc.).
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